The Minnesota Vikings may be looking for a franchise running back to take over for Adrian Peterson one day, but should it be Alabama’s Derrick Henry?
These days, teams always seem to want a player that can do it all. At the running back position, that means having an elite runner that can also catch passes, protect the quarterback, and do all the little things needed to excel in the NFL. While a complete package like that is extremely rare, Derrick Henry might come close to checking all the boxes.
Seen somewhat as a power back, Henry is a surprisingly good athlete. After showing up at the NFL Scouting Combine heavier than expected, he proceeded to blow the roof off the place, scoring excellently in the vertical jump, broad jump, and 60 yard shuttle. It’s that kind of speed and athleticism that people tend to forget about when watching Henry on tape.
His size makes him a bruising runner even if he isn’t trying to be, making him an excellent short-yardage player. However, he has sneaky speed, which isn’t really obvious when watching tape on him. Henry seems to have another gear waiting every time it seems he’s hit his top strides. He was a workhorse for Alabama and could take on a featured role if asked to at the professional level as well, as cardio and toughness aren’t really issues.
The biggest concern about Derrick Henry is his long-term health. Henry has been taking a beating for many years already at the high school and college level, having been fed the ball over and over again. Also, don’t expect to see Henry bouncing around to find holes. He typically goes with his first read and attacks that hole, even if an opening hasn’t formed yet.
Here are Alabama running back Derrick Henry’s numbers from the events at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine according to NFL.com:
Derrick Henry compares to:
- CBS Sports: LeGarrette Blount, Patriots
- NFL.com: Brandon Jacobs, retired
Fit for the Minnesota Vikings:
If the Minnesota Vikings want a running back, they may take a solid look at Derrick Henry. Having him sit behind Adrian Peterson may be a huge value for him, as it seemed to work well for Jerick McKinnon as a rookie. His bruising style is a good reminder of what the black and blue division used to be like, and could be insurance if veteran Matt Asiata moves on after this year.
I’m higher on Derrick Henry than a lot of folks are. He could be a day-one starter for many teams in the NFL and should be an early first round draft pick, but the devaluation of the position could make him fall to the second round. If that happens, Minnesota should try to package up a deal to move up and get him, as the Vikings are built around the running game, and Henry could be a valuable piece for the future.